I am starting off this week…
by interviewing Bertie Scott and asking him about his new track, Feel Alive. I ask Scott whether there is more material coming down the line and which artists he grew up around; if there are rising artists we need to get behind – I ask if we can see the songwriter tour at all.
Scott highlights a few albums that mean a lot to him and tells me what the scene is like where he is in Southend-on-Sea; how he unwinds and relaxes away from music; what he hopes to achieve by the end of this year – he ends the interview by selecting a great modern track.
Hi, Bertie. How are you? How has your week been?
Hi, Sam! I’m all good, thanks. Been a busy week getting everything all prepped and ready - new music out tomorrow; first track I’ve dropped in a while and there’s always last-minute things to rush and get sorted. It’s always the way. Haha.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
So. My name is Bertie Scott. I’m a songwriter from Southend-on-Sea, Essex (just outside of London). Doing the Pop/Alt-Pop thing.
Feel Alive is your latest single. Is there a story behind the song at all?
So. The main chorus idea for Feel Alive actually came about when I was driving my car. I pulled over straight away and recorded a voice note on my phone – sometimes, when you get random ideas you’ve gotta get them down as soon as possible or they’ll disappear from your mind forever. It’s happened too many times and you always think you’ll remember…but 80% of the time they’re gone by the time you get back to your house. I was actually doing a co-writing session with Jack and Rob from a band called Holloway Road the next week. When we met up, I showed them and the rest of the pieces just fell into place.
The concept behind the song is literally about being alive. Most of the time, we’re so drawn in and programmed by society to do the same thing every day; work 9-5, get back; sit down, watch T.V.; same thing day in day out. It’s so stale. But, sometimes, you just wanna get that buzz from life and really feel something.
Might see more material in 2019? How far ahead are you looking?
Absolutely. I took some time out from releasing music recently and focused on writing. As a consequence, I’ve got a whole backlog of songs recorded up and ready to go. I should be good for the next six months and, at the same time, I’ll be writing and recording even more! I wanna put out as much music as possible. The next track for release is just around the corner as well.
Can you give me a sense of the artists you grew up around? Who do you count as idols?
Michael Jackson - King of Pop. My mum used to play his stuff all the time when we were younger and still does. When I really got into music, though, I remember being fascinated by all the local bands in the area. Me and my friend used to go religiously every Friday to the local venues and watch/listen to music. It was wicked. Some of the bands were so good and I used to buy their C.D.s and go home and learn how to play the tracks and jam out to them on my own for hours.
You are based in Southend-on-Sea. Is there a strong music scene there at the moment?
Absolutely. It’s getting stronger all the time. Some great bands have come from this area. The Horrors went to my school; some of the Nothing But Thieves boys were in my class; Charley from Rixton is from Southend. There are some wicked under-the-radar acts here right now - it’s just a matter of time before some someone crosses over that line again.
What do you hope to achieve by the end of 2018?
More music released, more songs written. Honestly, I just wanna get the new tracks out as soon as possible. My favourite song I’ve written so far is still to come - we play it live in the set at the minute but the recorded version is even better. I can’t wait for everyone to hear it.
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in the mind?
I played at Pride Festival in Southend this year and it’s the first time I’ve really heard people sing the words back at me when I was on stage. It was amazing and they were so loud as well. I could hear them over the music! It was only a short set, but so good.
Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?
Dangerous - Michael Jackson
It’s the first L.P. I remember seeing at home and the way it kicks into the first track is just so good. I always remember seeing it around at home when I was little. The artwork on the front is so cool too. It’s such a nostalgia thing and it takes me right back to when I was younger.
Avenged Sevenfold – Avenged Sevenfold
Seems like an odd choice but, honestly, the first concert I ever went to and still one of the best. My sister got tickets for her birthday and we all went to Brixton Academy to see them play. I didn’t know any of the songs and wasn’t really into Rock music back then…but I literally had that record on repeat for weeks and weeks after we got back from London that night.
So difficult to choose: there’s so many I wanna pick. I’m gonna go with 1989 - Taylor Swift
It made me believe in Pop music again.
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
Probably Taylor Swift. I ended up getting last-minute tickets to her London gig recently and it was the biggest live show I’ve ever seen. So good. The energy in that stadium was insane. I’d love to be a part of that. Or play with Sia. I haven’t seen her before but I reckon she kills it…
Rider-wise; if anyone can slip in some avocado Maki…I’m in.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
I would say the songwriting is even more important than ever. There was a point when playing live and getting out there was more important, but I think it’s switched round again - especially in the age where social media seems to be ruling. The songs really have to come first and have to be really tight. And, also, don’t be afraid to collaborate!
Do you have tour dates coming up? Where can we catch you play?
Absolutely. I’m playing at Medicine at Royal Holloway University on 9th November; O2 Islington Academy on 29th November and Zetland in Huddersfield on 30th November. I’m doing some Xmas lights switch-ons as well in November/December. Type in ‘Bertie Scott Tour Dates’ into Google and follow me on Bandsintown for the full list.
How important is it being on the stage and playing your music to the people?
Very important. It keeps me going. I can’t imagine not having any shows to look forward to. Writing music and being in the studio is great too. I love both sides – but playing it live is very different (even if the music is exactly the same).
IN THIS PHOTO: Emma McGrath/PHOTO CREDIT: CK Goldiing
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
If you haven’t already; check out Emma McGrath. We played a show together recently up in London and she’s killing the game. Her songwriting is so good and she’s got one of those voices you could listen to for hours. If you haven’t heard of her yet, you will soon.
Also; TS Graye. I came across her as she worked with a producer I know but her voice is wicked too and I’ve got her latest track basically on-repeat at home.
IN THIS PHOTO: TS Graye
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
Sometimes. But, I if spend too much time away, I get an itch to crack on with stuff. Doing music is a 24/7, 365 thing. Once you’ve got the bug, it doesn’t stop. And, if it does, that’s the time to quit. Although, I have definitely learned you need to take a break sometimes as it’s good to reset your brain. My parents have got a little place up in Norfolk we sometimes go up to and, if you go out-of-season, there’s literally no one there in the town. It’s so good to rest and unwind there.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Sucker Punch by Sigrid. Literally just came out the other day and it’s such a tune. Another track I’ve got on constant repeat on my Spotify playlist
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